How to Spot Fake Video Views

Posted 16th May 2016
by BellyFlop

A very small number of people pay for views of their YouTube videos. This is to artificially increase the view count and therefore make a video appear more popular, which in turn makes more people watch a film.

When I attended the Youtube Creator Day at the Sharp Project last year it was no surprise to be told that the following is what makes someone view a video: The thumbnail looks interesting, the duration of a video is not too long (ideally under 2 minutes), the description is a simple five word summary (search results on mobile which is 80% of YouTube viewers only shows the first five words), and most importantly the number of views a video has.

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Where do people buy these views from? Websites like www.fiverr.com have members who sell thousands of views for $5 (hence the website name fiverr) and there are many others. Fiverr also offers lots of other creative services this is just an ugly side of it.

Those you pay for the views don’t then write a great press release for the video, they don’t have really popular social media accounts they then share the films on. No, often hackers secretly embed the video on a popular website page so each time the website is visited the the video receives a view. Does it increase awareness in the company or product in a film? No. Does it increase likelihood of sales? No. But if you were not a very professional video company and want to deceive a customer into thinking the film you made is so amazing that lots of people are watching it, which in turn means the customer asks for more video, then that’s the method in their madness.

YouTube has got a lot smarter with spotting fake view numbers on their videos, as they will get a lot of data from the traffic a video attracts and will soon spot inconsistencies. They will either freeze a videos views or possibly date the video or a whole account as they did back in 2012.

But how can you spot fake views. Well, it is quite easy if a video statistics has not been set to hidden. Take this video below which I believe has had fake views (I won’t share the actual video just the statistics). The really obvious way of finding out is by clicking the ‘more’ tab under a video, then clicking ‘statistics’.

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This will give you the views of a video over the time the video has been online.

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So if a video is really popular, people will do several things. They will like, or dislike, and at least a few people will comment. On this video it has not had a single like, dislike, and not a single comment. Unusual to think that when it has had 17,000 views.

But quite clearly the video had a surge in views around May 2013. All in one day from all accounts! Fair enough the video could’ve been featured on a popular blog or social media page. If that was so a quick search in Google of the video title would then show the video on a popular web page (it would have to be pretty popular to give almost 15,000 views at once). But nothing appears.

If you really want a video to be effective and get views, it has to be relevant to the audience it is aiming for. A video that is only watched by one important decision maker, who then goes on to make a decision that has huge positive impact on your company, is the most important view of all.